2018 was the best on record for wind power in Ireland

2018 was one of the best on record for wind energy generation in Ireland, according to the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA).

IWEA, the representative body for the Irish wind industry that works to promote wind energy as an “essential, economical and environmentally friendly part of the country’s low-carbon energy future”, says it is now focused on providing 70% of the nation’s electricity through renewable energy by 2030.

The association, meanwhile, boasts 150 members including many of the big players in the industry like ESB, Coillte and Bord na Móna.

Head of communications and public affairs Justin Moran told AgriLand that in January 2018 more electricity was provided through wind than from natural gas.

This, he added, was the first time an occurrence such as this has ever happened.

Moran was speaking about the “vision” for wind energy in Ireland and how the association believes it is possible to provide at least 70% of the country’s electricity through renewables by 2030.
He added: “Our vision for where renewable electricity could be is to provide 70% of our electricity through renewables by 2030 – this does not include specifically wind or onshore wind.”

He went on to say that while the country “needs offshore wind” IWEA sees the biggest growth in onshore wind energy “particularly over the next five years”.

After that, Moran continued, there will be a move towards offshore wind energy.
“While we need offshore wind we see the big growth in onshore wind particularly over the next five years – then there will be a move towards offshore wind energy,” he continued.

“Hopefully too we will have a big chunk of energy coming in from solar which is something that we do not have a lot of now.”
Plan of Action

Moran says that the industry is encouraged by the fact that the Government is currently working on the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) and its anticipated introduction in 2020.

This scheme will result in the removal of the contentious PSO Levy and introduce an auction system that has the potential to reduce electricity costs for the consumer.

The PSO Levy, meanwhile, is set each year by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
It is a tariff imposed by the Government on all electricity users. The proceeds of the levy are used to cover additional costs associated with producing sustainable and renewable energy in Ireland.

Switcher.ie explained on its website that, while in October 2017, the PSO Levy increased from €70.75 (€80.30 including VAT) to €92.28 (€104.74 including VAT) per year. A significant decrease came into effect on October 1, 2018 that saw the levy drop to €41.76 per year (€47.40 including VAT).
Moran continued: “The Government is currently working on RESS and we would expect that it will be rolled out in 12 to 18-months time. It is designed to be ‘less generous’ and will run on an auction system.”

IWEA’s head of communications and public affairs then concluded by pointing out that RESS will place an obligation on all wind farm developers to offer an investment opportunity to people in the community.